Sunday, September 25, 2011

Respecting Venomous Creatures and Bloody Goddesses

Ardhanarishwara (
There are two subjects which I keep hoping to get to in this space, but I seem to always be short on time these days, and other things of importance keep showing up. Since I started this mainly as a place to record my thoughts, feelings, and inspirations for perhaps someday being of interest to my few descendants, or to future prospective sangeet students (also, as well as just laying it all down for the record, sharing information on the progress of the accelerating implosion of 'civilization'), I intend to make a adequate record of my own personal process of the musical and spiritual journey that got me here. This 'journal' of remembrances will necessarily focus on my experiences with some, or all, of nine to twelve gurus - musical and spiritual (not necessarily separate), and also look at the nature of what is known as guru-shishya-parampara, or at least my experience of it as an aspiring traditional percussionist-in-training/sacred music practitioner. 
I am working up to begin posting this (in 5 or 6 parts) in the very near future (what there may be of it). Another reason for doing this is the major confusion and misunderstanding of the 'guru' concept in the West, something upon which I would hope to perhaps shed a bit of light, based purely on personal experience of self-submission in a dozen instances over my adult lifetime. 
There is another subject too, which I hope to get to, and that is a personal record of intimate relationships with companion and wild animals who have served also as teachers in this life, so far. We'll see how it works out. I'm not the writer that Derrick Jensen is, but there are some stories there...
While I work on these central subjects and issues of my life experience, today I'll have to just post some odd bits of pictorial and verbal images that came up in various meaningful and archetypal ways, mostly in the areas of our animal-nations friends. 

Three photos of this week's rattlesnake rescue and relocation in the high desert area here:

Got a call from a resident saying a rattler had been caught up entangled in "bird netting" - which should never be placed on the ground, helllooo! He/she was kind of distressed, having been immobilized for 24 hours when I reached there.
This is the "product":

The netting was wrapped 30-40 times around the snake's mid-section, which required holding down and carefully snipping away each thread against the scales...took about 1/2 hour.
Most likely a prairie rattler, the little one only rattled a few times at first, and when freed slowly crept off into the sage and scrub juniper.

Here's hoping s/he'll find the way home, and remember a moment of human kindness should we ever meet again on the trail. All beings deserve to live free and be spared a torturous, unnecessary fate.

Sadly, our neighbor lost one of the 4 beloved donkeys on Thursday. Crystal, RIP. Her donkey friends, as well as the 4 llamas, and 4 alpacas have all been sleeping on, and during the days, keeping vigil at her grave, even bringing their toys to place on the site. Quite stunning to see.

Navaratri/Durga-Puja, the Nine Nights of the Goddess, are beginning on Wednesday, Sept. 27, so it's that time of year again to throw down nine rice yantras, one each night, in the dhuni fire-pit, hold the space for the sisters to make puja with the hand-made murtis of the Devis, and speak the mantras and sing the hymns of all Her names.

The primary Shakti Devi being Bhoomi, our Mother Earth, all these names and manifestations are Her aspects and attributes (including Kali, Saraswati, Durga, and all the rest), present in and inclusive of all beings who walk, stand, crawl, swim, and fly within Her Matrix of Her Mani Dvipa - Island of Jewels, our Planet Earth. Mani Dvipa is the mystic vision granted Her devotees upon that total surrender of all that mind and self-importance crap that appears so hard to give up or remove oneself from. Turning it all over to Her, the natural mystic knows its all under control, and this world is not the source of error, an accursed place, nor a hell-realm needing a savior. It is Her body, the Beautiful Red Triple-dimension Creation, Shri Lalita Mahatripura Sundari, spontaneously arising from Her primal vibration AUM, visually represented by the Shri Yantra diagram seen at right.

I want to urge all who are able to view the film A Fall From Freedom, linked in the right margin, to do so. It is not terribly disturbing visually, but lays down the absurdity of sentient-being imprisonment-for-entertainment in no uncertain terms, exposing in the light of truth the money (natch) and the people running, and attempting to justify, this terrible business - intimately connected to all the destruction that's going on in our oceans.
What freedom looks like (screen capture from film)
On the gross side, here are some things you don't want to give to your kids:

Friday, September 16, 2011


Goddess Saraswati
A radio talk-show host was interviewing Alan Grayson, former Fla. congressman. His assessment of our situation was of witnessing the "extermination of empathy". I would have to agree that that's the plan. With the all-pervasiveness of Wetiko-disease, psychopathy, malignant narcissism, Archontic plague (however you want to call it) in the (especially 'Western') world's disgustingly blasphemous (Nature-hating) political (and personal) public and media conversational exchanges, it seems everything is moving along according to plan. We try to go on with our lives, relishing each moment of sanity, beauty, creativity we can possibly experience while we also wait for some seemingly imminent resolution or end to the insanity and attempting to do whatever we can to mitigate the most dire consequences of various wetiko-tribal aggressions against Life, and also spread what we know to be the truth of the situation, usually not by logical explanation however (because that no longer works with most humanoids), but by various means of spontaneous anarchic creativity. [Anarchy: against Archons]
I should mention that the above named politician followed his comment about 'empathy' with the statement that "that's what separates us from animals", blah blah. So, that's the best there is out of the mouths of 'leaders' as well as a clear reminder about self-reliance and not looking for help from self-styled 'important' spokespersons from any of the domains of 'civilized contemporary culture'. Any twit with a search engine can find copious evidence to the contrary to that speciesist statement. But, yeah, what-ever. 

There's just no getting away from "the topic of topics" - ever. But we can move to the periphery of the whirlpool by engaging in our chosen forms of serious art-making, alone or in company of others, if we're lucky. I guess that's what we were doing last weekend with our 24 hours of continuous kirtan-chanting and drumming dedicated to Sri Hanumanji. I hadn't participated in that particular festival for last 10 years, because of personal abhorrence to the 'institution' and it's psychopathic hypocrisy and elitism toward the greater community. But that is the nature of 'religious' institutions in the Kaliyug in general. This time I felt 'called' however, and it was worth the setting aside of my distaste for a moment to hopefully energize the process for the good of the community of suffering, long-under-seige devotees. Besides, there was a good solid unified posse to hold down the excellent quality of musical medicinal vibration. That's about the best one can hope for in these degenerate times. [Besides, at 65 I can play harder and have more endurance than a lot of the younger drummers for these types of marathons (grin).]

My musical life, on one level - of being in the 'West' - has been a long pain in the ass: submitting myself at the feet of the master musicians of the Indian subcontinent for decades - to learn all the forms and styles - only to return to my 'homeland' for rejection and marginalization because I couldn't shut up about the co-option, commercialization, fake-posing, glamorization, vanity, star-worship, etc. Yer not supposed to do that. Plus, I am most definitely not glamorous, shmoozy, and full of all the qualities required by the New Age scene for 'professional' and material success. Can't keep my mouth shut about my extreme distaste for cultural cannibalism/colonialism. I have my own 'litmus tests', you see. On the other hand, curiously, it has ultimately saved me a lot of grief and disillusionment. If you're not familiar with the 'Eastern music' scene, it's about the many vain egoists who buy an exotic instrument (harmonium, for example), take a few lessons (or none at all) and "create" their own brand of "fusion" (horrible misnomer), or 'westernized'/'accessible' sounds to scam the insanely ignorant masses of culturally starved denizens of the Empire into thinking they are participating in something sacred and holy. It's simply 'how we roll' here in the end times. None of this is meant to imply any particular importance to my musical endeavors. I was involved many lifetimes ago, but just returned to it in this incarnation. I still require many more lifetimes to get 'up to speed', but I manage as best as I can. Ok, that's my personal rant for the week, sorry.

It seems to be getting pretty uninhibited in general in the public sphere as far as wetiko/psychopathy is concerned, does it not? Is anyone else experiencing this? I had a couple of wacked encounters in the past week in places of business in town. Individuals obviously enjoying, laughing, taunting others being subjected to their obstructions, cheating, self-imagined superiority and harm-causing. When others questioned or called them on their shit, they launched into extraordinary expressions of their lack of empathy or concern for anyone else, laughing and gesturing wildly, with no holding back or self-censorship. I found it interesting and asked them straight out if they were big-shot mafia dons or planning on departing soon to their own planet being prepared for them by their Lord. They were stunned and got quiet. Then they stormed off giving me the one-finger salute.

Back to the 'topic' again. What the hell to do in this interim time? Encourage space-ship migration to Mars? Sometimes these interactions/encounters can't be avoided. Human abuse and animal abuse and Earth abuse is everywhere. Most of the time, in the temporal dimension, I like to focus on the work being done by the many many true human beings involved in either directly or indirectly alleviating the suffering, because it simply counteracts my tendency toward despair at our species. This is how what I'm talking about looks like:

Here is a short clip of yours truly supporting some authentic Rajasthani gypsy dance and music last spring - dancer Annya-Ishtara and sitarist Amie Maciszewski -

Annya at Metta 1 from Richard on Vimeo.
cool empathy on a hot day in India